So, I raised my prices for writing to $0.02/word (a big deal for me) back in October 2017 after many years at a lower price point. I feel I timed things right, and it has worked out very nicely so far. However, I still occasionally get a message asking about discounts.
When this question comes with a bulk order from a long-term customer, that’s one thing. It might be a free 24-hour turnaround add-on thrown into their urgent offer. But when it’s a person with whom I’ve never worked with expecting things at half price (from now until eternity, assuming they really have the “bundles of work” they claim), that’s entirely different.
Some people take a polite no as an answer, but others want to sit there and haggle/argue with my about what they deserve to pay.
Cheapo: “You charge $0.02/word! If I want a 15,000-word book, that would be upwards of $3,000!”
Me: “No, it would actually be exactly $300.”
Cheapo: “That’s still too much. Can I get a discount?”
Me: “I’m not able to offer a discount, but you can begin with a smaller order that fits within your budget.”
Cheapo: “What do you mean you’re not “able”? Even if you type just 50 words a minute, you’re still making $60 an hour!”
Me: “I’d suggest finding another seller.”
MATH CHECK FOR “DISCOUNT SHOPPERS”
I actually type 85 words/minute, but I’m still not making $60 an hour or anywhere near it.
First, out of that $0.02/word, I only get 80% = $0.016/word.
But, wait, there’s more…
Out of that $0.016/word, I have to pay 15.3% self-employment tax. Plus 22% Federal tax. Plus my (outrageous) 7% state income tax.
That leaves me at $0.008912/word.
So, you might be paying $300 for a 15,000-word eBook, but I am only pocketing about $133.68.
How much is that an hour? Well, assuming I could sit there and type at 85 words/minute steadily, all day long, I’d get about $45/hour. But, I’m human, so I can’t.
You have to factor in the initial research, the structuring, the writing, the editing, the revisions…I’ve found that, on average, it takes me around 10 hours to write a 15,000-word book when it’s all said and done. That’s about $13.36/hour on a good day.
And that’s when I’m reminded that I could be making the same an hour at the local burger joint, without having to stay up until midnight.
So, cheapo, maybe you should go to the drive-thru next time you want “affordable” writing services.
Fact: The real industry standard is a minimum of $0.10/word, but I don’t think any seller here lists at that price point. If they do, they probably aren’t selling that well since a thousand other sellers are willing to accept less at any given time.